Job Title: Chief Executive Officer / Entrepreneur
What exactly is that?
I am the founder and owner and lead my organisation.
How did you get there?
I think even as a very young child I had entrepreneurial tendencies and always aspired to achieve more. From the age of 9 I was heavily involved in sport, being a national gymnast for Surrey and Sussex. This involved an intensive training programme of up to 4hrs per day and 12hrs over the weekend until I was 18 when I had to retire through injury.
Being in such a competitive environment, I found it very difficult to adjust to life outside sport and very much missed the buzz of competition, achieving, striving for more. This led to my focus being on my career and I tried several money making ideas as part time ventures (on top of my day job) from making and selling dried flower arrangements to local businesses, restaurants and through events (self-taught) to undertaking selling via party plan etc.
Having returned to Cornwall at the age of 22, I knew I had to take the leap of starting up my own business, making use of my experience and qualifications in sport. I launched Fit N Fun Kids in 2001, offering physical activity classes for children under five with their parents. Having no start up funds and having being turned down by the Banks and Investors, I (with my husband’s support), sold my family home to launch the company.
Marketing was very much on a shoe string, long hours were the norm as with any new business start up and I also undertook several qualifications to improve my business knowledge and practice. I took no income in the first three years, choosing to invest into the business rather than taking on a debt to develop and grow which meant relying on my husband’s income alone. However, all this paid off and we developed our services into the childcare market, innovating over the years to now having an national and regional award winning business with over fifty employees.
Describe a typical day for you
My day starts between 6.30am and 7am where coffee and a cuddle with my dogs is first on my agenda. My children are now grown up so I have just myself to get ready for work! I have always had a love of cars and I currently drive myself to work in a white Range Rover – my car in the one thing I like to treat myself to for all my hard work (it was quite a while after launching my business before I could afford to buy one!)
My first responsibility prior to starting work is to make contact with all the young mums we support in one of the areas of my business. I start the day by texting them to make sure they are attending college each day and supporting them if they have any challenges. If I need to cancel their transport as they are not attending, I make relevant phone calls.
My team at head office are responsible for all other services and manage this before I get into work. On a Monday I like to hold a half an hour target meeting with my Managers to prepare for the week and see if there is any support their require. The remainder of my day is full of meetings or working at my computer. I am responsible for a senior management team, all marketing and social media, business development and growth, problem solving, management and development of staff, financial performance of the organisation, gap analysis, parent engagement, staff moral, quality of care and the steering of the Young Mums Will Achieve programme – a lot to do each day but I have a big team that supports me.
When I get home I like to cook dinner for myself and my husband and my daughter who still lives with me – my son moved into his own house a few months ago but also often comes for dinner – I love to cook!! I also pop in and check on my mum each day who lives close by and who suffers with dementia, I am her primary carer.
To relax I have chickens and land around where I live and a boat so often like to go for walks with my husband and my dogs or go out on the boat but most of all, I love to go shopping for clothes, make-up, items for the home and have lunch or coffee with my daughter!! I also run a not for profit organisation called Leading Women UK and so often attend networks and events that support young women in schools and women in business.
What’s the best thing about what you do?
I love helping others – my core business is childcare www.fitnfunkids.co.uk, so giving children the best start in life and supporting working families. Leading Women UK www.leadingwomenuk.com supports young women through to women later in life with peer support, advice and guidance, information sharing, connecting, inspiring, business start up and growth.
I also run two further not for profit organisations the Enterprise Foundation South West www.enterprisefoundationsw.co.uk where I have delivered ‘Be Inspired’ Conferences in Schools and also delivered the pilot Enterprise Adviser Network on behalf of the government and Cornwall & Isles of Scilly LEP and I recently supported my daughter with her anti-bullying organisation, Stay Strong www.staystrong.org.uk.
What’s the one thing you would change if you could?
I wish I had studied harder at School!
What did you want to do for a living when you were at school?
Become either an Air Hostess or Hairdresser!
Tell us about one thing you were insecure about what you were at school and what you did about it
My weight was always a worry when I was at school. Sport was very important to me and I had to keep my weight down but as with any teenage girl, my body went through a change and this worried me. I talked to my mum about it and she gave me good advice and made sure I ate a healthy diet.
What advice would you give yourself at 18 if you could?
Not to put so much pressure on myself – The world does not begin or end at 18, you have many years ahead of you to seize opportunities, make mistakes, learn from them and get it right next time around, or even take opportunities that come your way or seek them out and enjoy them! Be young, enjoy yourself, don’t be in a rush to grow up. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice, believe in yourself, be happy!
What’s your favourite thing to do in your spare time?
I love to cook, spend time with my family whether going for walks, going out for dinner or going shopping! I also love my home and garden and I am always looking at ways to improve it.
I am currently renovating an area of my home for a converted barn holiday let. I am also a bit of a workaholic and love helping others when I can, getting involved in projects or fund raising events!
What’s the title of the last book you read?
Please share with us one beauty tip you have learned
Contouring – my daughter has recently taught me the art of contouring – its amazing!
Please share with us one money tip you have learned
Cashflow – always monitor your cashflow, it is critical to the running of your business!
Please share with us one life lesson you have learned
Live every day to its fullest – you never know what is around the corner – I have lost many who I have loved through ill health and it has taught me to make the most of every day I have!
Where can people find yo online for more info?
LinkedIn Rachel Jones
Twitter: Rachel FNFK,